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Full text of "General thoughts on the construction, use and abuse of the great offices [microform] : with a view to some further discourses on the same subject"

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1 


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% 



GENERAL 

THOUGHTS 

O N T H E 

Conftru6lion, Ufe and Abufe 

i O F T H E 

GREAT OFFICES; 

WITH 

A View to fomc further Discourses 
*^- on the fame SUBJECT. 



n 




LONDON: 

Printed for R. Baldwin, at the Raft, in Pattr-mfttf' 
Rew, 1754. ( Price Six-pence. ) 



» -1. 



t 



i 1 



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im 



^M 



^' T'TTfl-T-niiifr lainwiiiW 



jT 



( t ) 



General Thoughts, (^c. 



I 

■m 



AS God hath imprinted his 
Authority on Princes, fo 
. he hath alfo delegated and 
committed Part of his Care and 
Providence unto them, that they 
may be inftrumental in conveying 
the Bleffings v^^hich he intends 
fliould be the EflFedls of Govern- 
ment. 

The Prerogative of the Crown, 
when exercifed only under the Eye 

B and 






( 2 ) 

nnJ InfpccV:oa of the Sovereign, 
is altof^ether form'd for the Bene- 
iit of tlic Subjcd, and is as diffu- 
iivc o( Bleffings, in infpiring Man- 
kind with Vigour and Adivity, as 
rhc Sun is by its Rays of Heat in 
expanding, nourifliing, and invi- 
gorating the vegetable Creation. 



*<r 



I ( 
I 

\ 

i "l 

1! 

( . 

\\ 

! ,' 

I. 



But when the Order of the great 
Offices, under the Inlpedion of 
the OiHcers of State, doth not open 
to the View of the Crown every 
Matter and Ad of Importance, 
the wrong Frame of them will be- 
come a Snare to the Subjed ; oc- 
calion a fervile Dependance ; re- 
move all kind of Emulation in ferv- 
ing the Crown ; make it more 

dan- 



* 



•> \ 



(3) 
dangerous to expofe Faults tlian to 
commit them ; and draw LihvS of 
Diftindion between the Subjects, 
fo as to make it impofliblc for any 
Perfon, however well qualified, to 
attain the Favour of the Prince, 
unlefs he hath fome Connexions 
with Men in Power ; and it hath 
alfo this further ill Tendency, that 
when Mankind find themfelves un- 
der thofe Circumftances, th^^y are 
apt to miftake the true Caufe of 
their SuflFerings, and cool in their 
Zeal and Loyalty even to the So- 
vereign. , , 



Thefe are the Effedls which will 
naturally arife in any Cbuntry 
where the Offices are wrongly con- 

B 2 ftituted, 



ftituted ; and indeed in fucli a Mo- 
narchy as Great Britai/fy many 
more Evils may arife from the fame 
Caufe, fo as to put it in the Power 
of Men of high Rank in Office, to 
a6l with a kind of Independency in 
the Adminiftration of State Af- 
fairs. 



The Frame and Conftitution of 
this Government will demonftrate 
the Truth of thefe Obfervations, 
as the Rights and Privileges of 
the Subjeds confift principally in 
the Union or Harmony of the three 
gr^at Powers, which form the State; 
and th^ Strength and Vigour of the 
Government, depend wholly up- 
pn th^ due fxercifp of the Regal 

Poweri 



-'.*i 



( s) 

Power, which again depends not 
only on the due Adminiftration of 
yuftice in the Courts of Law, but 
alfo, in a great meafure, upon a 
ftridl Adherence to the antient 
Rules or Syftem of the great Of- 
fices, which, by their original Tex- 
ture or Inftitution, were fo formed, 
as to bring every Matter of Confer 
quence to the View of the Crown. 



f 



But if thro' Time, Incidents, 
or Caufes of a mix'd Nature, the 
Cheques and Reftraints on thofe 
who prefide in the great Offices are 
loofened or removed, and that Men 
in Power apprehend thcmfelves to 
be at liberty to difpenfe with the 
Rules of their Office, the Name 

of 



■;?p 



.^' 



' 



i 



ii 



(6) 
of the Sovereign may be often pro- 
ftituted, in the fame Manner, and 
from the fame Motives, that Pricfts 
of feveral Denominations profti- 
tute the Name of God ; to delude 
Mankind, and draw the Riches and 
Power of a Nation into their own 
Hands. But this can only be ef- 
fefted by the Priefts when the Peo- 
ple are kept in Ignorance, and by 
Statefmen when a Veil is thrown 
over the Offices. For Impofture 
and Deceit are like the Mole which 
doth a great deal of Mifchief, but 
then it is only while it works un- 
der Cover and in the Dark, for as 
foon as it is expos'd to Day-light, 
it is rendered incapable of doing 
an/ further Hurt, 

The 



":•!* 



MM 



(7) 



The Power or Privilege claim- 
ed by King 'James and Charles the 
Firft, v\z. That they were account- 
able to none but God, might do 
what they pleafcd, and were free 
from the Laws, fo eftranged and 
turned the Hearts of their Subjedls 
againft them and their Succeffors, 
and gave the People, in general, 
fuch a Diftafte and Abhorrence to 
the very Name of Prerogative, that 
even, until this Day, many are pre- 
judiced agamft the Name, and 
look upon it as an Engine of Go- 
vernment, from which they rather 
apprehend Danger than hope for 
Protedion. However, the Efforts 
that were then made to extend the 

Pre- 



f 



I r 



(8) 
Prerogative beyond the Limits pre* 
fcribed by the Conftitution, being 
public and open, put the Subjeds 
upon their Guard, and drew them 
into Adion, fo as to defend their 
Rights and Privileges. But fe- 
cret or concealed Evafions always 
have a difFerent Tendency, and 
muft operate in a diiFerent Man- 
ner, efpecially as Craft invades all 
the Intercourfes of Men, puts on a 
flattering Afpedt, prpmifes rich 
Harvefts, and yet blafts the Corn in 
the Ear, which muft always be the 
Cafe when Men in Power prefer 
private Intereft to the Good of the 
Public. 






But 



ts pre* 
being 
jbjeds 
them 
I their 
it fe- 
Jways 
> and 
Man- 
ies all 
$ on a 
rich 
3rn in 
)e the 
prefer 
>f the 



But 



{ 9 ) 

But to leave the (^ompariloh^ 
iind refume the Subjeftj the Efjg^ 
glijh Monarchy hath been often 
reckoned to refetnble a Communi- 
ty united under and directed by 
by one fujperior Intelligence, con* 
curriiig with all their Powers and 
Faculties in one and the fame A&. 
Neverthelefs, the f)ifufe of the 
Powers inherent in the Crown, may 
in time extinguifli the Notion ol" 
Idea of that Right, and leave thofe 
who adt as Delegates of the Regal 
Power, at liberty to difpenfe with 
the due Courfe of Bufinefs, which 
from the Nature of Things, and 
the Tendency of evil Habits in the 
Offices, may be the Means of in- 

C tro- 



* 



! 



{ lo ) 
troducing a kind of Oligarchy in 
the Adminiftration of State Affairs, 
than which, nothing can be more 
fatal to the Subjed, or more to be 
dreaded in a mixed Monarchy. For 
although the Subjeds being go- 
verned by their own Laws, parti- 
cularly as to the Security of their 
Perfons and private Eftates, is a 
very great BlefEng, and what can- 
not be too much valued ; yet when 
confidered as a Nation, this alone 
cannot compleat their Happinefs, 
or render them fecure againft many 
Ads of Power at home, or againft 
the Incroachments of powerful 
Neighbours abroad. * 



■I t 



In 



} I 



T 



( " ) 



rchy in 

Affairs, 

e more 

e to be 

ly. For 

ng go- 

, parti- 

jf their 

-s, is a 

lat can- 

et when 

is alone 

ppinefs, 

ft many 

• againft 

owerful 



In 



In this Light the due Excrcife of 
the Prerogative, and the Security 
of the Subjeds, depend principally 
upon making the Crown the Cen- 
ter, to which all Matters relative 
to the Offices ought ultimately to 
refort, and that all thofe who prefide 
therein, and have the Diredion or 
Superintendency of them, be con- 
fidered as under an indifpenfable 
Neceffity of ading agreeable to 
Law, Juftice, and the King's War* 
rant, fo as not to affume a dif- 
penfing Power, or in any manner 
ad: merely of their own Will. 

In which Senfe only the Crown 
can be protedled from Surprife, or 

C 2 en- 



( 12 ) 

cpabkd tp rcftrain thofe in Truft 
and Office, who if left at liberty 
to aft without t^ryy regular Chcd^ 
pr certain Controul, har^ Jcin thcif 
Power (although not at prcfent ii| 
their Inclination) to create 2^ d^ftin^ 
and oppofite Intcrcft to that of the 
Crowi^ and Subjcd, even (o far 
as to introduce all thofe Evils which 
are the natural Confequcnccs of 
Anarchy and Confufion. 

fi. late Writer juftly obfervcs, 
that where Principles are wanting, 
Confiftcncy muft naturally be 
wanting, and where there is no 
Confiftency, we muft not expeft 
cither Dignity or Importance ; on 
the contrary, the Conflud: of fuch 

3 



a 



ii 



Truft 
liberty 
Chec}^ 
% thcif 
ent i^ 

of the 
fo far 
which 
:c8 of 



ervcs^ 
iting, 
f be 
is no 
xped 
-; on 
' fuch 






a 



( «3) 

a Community will be iludlq^g 

always^ will be abfurd ofteoi and 
which, in the End, muft render 
them as low and contemptibk in 
the Eyes of their Nei^bours, as 
lever they had been great or emi-^ 
nent. But may not the (ame Ef^ 
feds arife from different (DaufeSp 
may not thofe in Power be endow- 
ed, in a private Light, with marty 
commendable Qualities, and yet 
from thiB Indifpofition or Confti- 
tutional Pifcwder of the Offices^ 
be liable to infinite Abfurditin 
and Contradidions in the Whole 
pf their public Proceedings? As 
conceive, jtheymay, from the Ten- 
dency of the Offices which often 
ppqratcs i^s forcibly on thofe wha 

prc- 



m 



I: 



( H) 

prefide . therein, as the Frame, 
Temper, and Difpofition of the 
Body influences the Mind or Fa- 
culties of Men ; therefore if the 
Offices are capable of producing 
fuch direful EfFedls, how careful 
ought we to be in diflinguifliing 
between the Man and the Office, 
left we are found to ad: upon wrong 
Principles, and to apply Remedies ^ 
not fuited to the Nature of the 
Difeafe ; for if the Grievances . 
complained of arife principally 
from the Alterations which. have 
been formerly made, in the Courfe 
of proceeding in the great Offices, 
let who will be employed, they 
muft either fall in with the Views 
andPaffionsof other Men, orelfe, 

like 



Frame, 
of the 
or Fa- 
if the 
ducing 
careful 
aiihing 
Office, 
wrong 
medies 
of the 
^varices ^ 
Lcipalljr 
;h.have 
Courfe 
3ffices, 
1, they 
Views 
or elfe, 
like 



( ^5 ) 

like the great Sulfyy undertake to 
reform the Offices » ^ 






But as Men of great Diftindion, 
high Rank, or profound Learn- 
ing, are, in their feveral Spheres,' 
too much elevated minutely to ob- 
ferve the common Tranfadions of 
Life, and the Syftem of the public 
Offices, upon the Knowledge of 
which much depends, it may be 
of great ufe to the Public to take 
a View of what was in former 
Times, and what is now, the 
Courfe of proceeding in the great 
Offices ; thereby to difcover hoW 
they may be made to operate, foas to 
have an univerfal or general EfFedt 
on the whole Frame and Confti- 

tution 



I ", 



(i6) 

tutlon of the Goveinment of thk 
Kingdom. .r ,; ; 

Order is the true Parent of Suc^ 
ce£» and ia thi"^ Light all wife Go- 
vernments will ufe their utmoft 
Efforts, to prevent the leaft Change 
or Alteration being made in their 
Syftem; for by admitting Innova-* 
tiom and a fummary Courfe of pro« 
ceeding in the great Offices^ Hi- 
Hory, and the Experience of alt 
AgpSf fhew^ that under fuch Cir* 
<?i»nftances, the Partiality of Men 
difguife all Things, efpecially at 
Temptation^ and Infirmity, are al^ 
ways too near us, and that Men 
often err without Obfervation vidiea 

' ' their 



ol this 



jf Sue** 
ifeGo- 
utmoft 
Change 
in their 
nnova* 
of pro- 
es, Hi- 
of all 
ch Cir- 
:>( Men 
ially at 
^ are al<- 
lat Men 
>nwhen 
thcif 




( 17) 
their Adlions have no proper Re- 
ftraint by Law, • • • 

It is far from the Intention of 
this, or any future Treatifc on this 

. Subjedl, to refledt, or in the leaft 
infiniiate any thing to the Preju- 
dice of Men in Power, or even in 
the moft diftant manner, to hint 
that they entertain any Defign of 

/ deviating from their Duty to the 
Crown, or to the Public. But 
only to demonftrate that if it is 
found, on Examination, that the 
Courfe of the Offices have been fo 

' ' altered as not to bring every Mat- 
ter of Importance to the View of the 
Crown, and that the Suitors of the 
Crown may be barred from all Ao 

D ccfs 



w 



w 

) i 

't 

• i 



(18) 

cc^ to his Majefty ; under fuch a 
Situation of Things, the Head 
may, in many Refpcdts, be fepa-^ 
rated from the Body Politic:, which, 
of Confequence, muft introduce a 
new Principle into the Conftitu* 
tion, and this may through Time 
and many Caufes of a mix'd Na-^ 
ture, operate to the Ruin of this 
Nation, although nothing from 
without any way contribute to- 
wards fuch a fatal Effeft : A Storm 
is not always necefl'ary to iink a 
Ship, one treacherous Leak may 
do it in the greateft Calm, 

It is an eflablifhed Maxim, that 
whatever Things have Order, the 
fgm^ have? Unity of Defign. Npw 



Ih^ 



r fuch a 
e Head 
be fepa- 
;, which, 
reduce a 
Donftitiu 
jh Time 
ix'd Na- 
I of this 
ig from 
biJte to-r 

A Storm 
to iink a 
eak majr 



cim, that 
rder, the 

n. Npw 

■ ■ ♦ 



(19) 

111 like manner the Body Is tio! di 
Parcel of loofe incolieretit Members 
without Connexion of Depen-* 
dance, but a Syftcm of various 
Parts, mutually related and fub- 
fervient to each other ; fo the Body 
Politic confifts of divers Parts or 
Powers, which, by mutual Rela- 
tions and proper Subordinations are^ 
or ought to be, formed into a re-^ 
gular Conftitution. And as Health, 
and Sickncfs, Life and Death, de- 
pend on a Circulation of the Blood 
being well or ill eftiblifhed, fd 
likewife the Strength and Vigour 
of the Body Politic, depend prin- 
cipally on the regular, free, and 
uninterrupted Circulation of Bufi- 
ncfs through the Channels of the 
' D 3 public 



!i 



it 



. I, 



( 30) 

public OfFices. As it is Unity of 
Defign, or the uinform Profecution 
of Biifincfs, by the means of a 
Muhipliclty of difi'crcnt Parts, all 
confpiring together, which enables 
Kintidoms or States to execute De- 
figns oi Importance ; fo by this 
we can bed: Jifccrn, how far they 
are able to exert their Power, either 
us I'liends, or Enemies. 

■ Therefore as there are now many 
interefting Affairs depending with 
France^ relating to our foreign Set- 
tlements, it may be of great ufe 
to us, to examine into the Con- 
du6l and Proceedings of their 
Council or Board of Commerce, 
fo as to enable us to judge of their 

' Strength, 



^ 



Jnity of 
fecution 
s of a 
irts, all 
enables 
utc De- 
by this 
flir they 
r, either 



iw many 
ns with 
:ign Set- 
;reat ufe 
le Con- 
)f their 
mmerce, 
of their 
Strength, 



(.21) 

Strength, Poliey, and Connc6bionc; 
and in feveral, other Refpedts it 
may be of ufe to treat on that Sub- 
jcdl, before we take a View of our 
own Courfe of Proceeding in our 
Council, or Board of Trade. 

• i *» »■ • • •. 

But although the Matters above 
Iiinted at are of great Moment and 
public Concern, yet it may be ne- 
ceffary, previous to fuch Enquiry, 
to know the Difpofition of the 
Public, fo as to be informed, how 
far this may be a fit Time to enter 
into a Difquifition of this Nature. 

Therefore to coUedl the Senfe of 
the Public on this Head, it is pro- 
per to mention the Heads of the 

fe- 



(22) 

feveral Matters propofed to he 
treated of in the following Dif* 
courfes, viz* 

Obfervations on the Preach Po* 
litics r.nd Government| with re-* 
fped to their Courfe of proceeding 
in their great Offices. 

The Motives which induced 
Lewis XIV. to conftitute a Board 
of Commerce, aild the Plan upon 
which the faid Board is Conftitu- 
ted ; and alfo the Checks and Re- 
ftraints the Governors and othef 
Officers are liable to in the Dif^ 
charge of their refpedtive Duties^ 
with a general View of their Com- 
merce. ' 

Thd 



(23) 



T 



The Defigns of the French in 
forming Connexions with the In" 
dians^ and \n extending their Ter- 
ritories in America^ with fome fur- 
ther Obfervations in relation to 
the general Plan of Power which 
they are endeavouring to eftablifli* 



'W 



And, in the n^xt Place, it is in- 
tended to take a View of the Eng-^ 
Hfi Colonies in America^ with re* 
fpedt to their Settlements and dif- 
feren*: Models of Government. 



The Plan, or Syftem of our 

Council or Board of Trade, as 

conftituted in 1696; and of fe- 

veral other Regulitions with re- 

4 fped 



M 



' 



■f , 



■ ( '24 ) 
fpe6l to our Colonies, and to his 
Majefty's Governors and other Of- 
ficers of the Crown there. ^ '':^'- 



V % \ *0f ^A *^ * -. 



w«/kA '^ 



The Alterations which have been 
made in the faid Syftem or Plan of 
Government ; and alfb the Abufes 
which have crept into the Offices 
in Amertca\ and, as much depends 
on the Secretary of State's manner 
of fignifying the King's Pleafure, 
to treat briefly on that Siabjed. 

The Appointment of an Au- 
ditor and Receivers of his Ma- 
jefty's Revenues in the Colonies ; 
with feveral other Obfervations in 
relation to the Nature and Duty 
of the faid Offices ; and from what 

.. Caufes 



'W: 









( 25 ) 

Caufes the faid Appointments have 
not had the defircd Efk&. - . 

. ' ''•-.■, '^ 

To fliew that the Engltfif Colo- 

nies are not (o united, as to form 
any regular Plan (oc their own De- 
fence, when attacked by the French 
and Indians ; which pefed can 
only be redrefled by the Wifdor^ 
of the Legiflature. 

The great Importance of our 
Colonies, as it relates to our Trade 
and Navigation. , r . 

And, laftly, to offer feveral Pro- 
pofals for redrefling the Grievances 
complained of in the Courfe of 
this Eflay. 

And 



lii 






( 26) 



^'UL 



1,-'. i. . Jiil'.'V.' t t - 



■ ♦ 



J^\\l-^J 



And having treated fully in the 
former Difcourfes of the Syftem 
of the French Board of Commerce, 
and our Board of Trade, and o- 
ther Matters relative to America ; 
it IS conceived, that it may be of 
great ufe to take a View of the 
Original Syftem or Plan of pro- 
ceeding in our other great Boards 



at home, viz. 



yv'\ 



To treat briefly of the Powers 
lodged in the Lord High Trea- 
fnrer, Deputy-Treafurer, and Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, 



-| .; } 



To take a View of the Depart- 
ments of feveral of the principal 

Officers 



I I 



II 



in the 
jrftem 
lerce, 
nd o- 
^ica ; 
be of 
of the 
' pro- 
Soards 



'owers 
Trea- 
Chan- 



)epart- 
incipal 
)fficQis 



i 






; ( 27 ) 

officers of the Exchequer, from 
the Reign of King Henry VII. 
until the Revolution ; namely, of 
the Auditors of the Impreft, the 
Auditors of the Exchequer, and 
the King's and Treafurer's Re- 
membrancers ; and as the faid Re- 
membrancers are a proper and ufe- 
ful Check upon the Accomptants, 
and moft of the other Officers be- 
longing to the faid Court, it may 
be proper to treat fully on that 
Head. And next to treat briefly 
of the prefent Courfe of proceeding 
in the Treafury and Exchequer, in 
relation to our home and foreign 
Revenues, and the Connections 
the faid Treafury-Board hath with 

the 



\v 



Mi 






1 



li. 



i|M 



( 28 ) 

die Admiralty and other great Of-* 



fices. 



•^f 



t.. 



.--.1 cr. 



J t a. 



■» • r 



v:- 



j ].-/ • 



To oiFer a fliort State of the va- 
rious Regulations which have been 
made in his Majefty's Privy-Coun- 
cil, for upwards of 1^0 Years ; to 
point out the great Benefits and 
Advantages refulting from them ; 
and as nothing can fliew the Wif- 
dom of any Syftem better^ than to 
point out the Inconvenience which 
naturally arifes from the Difufe of 
of them, to make feveral Remarks 



thereon. 



.f » 



And, laftly, toobferve, that as 
all executive Power ought to centre 
in the Crown, as flowing original- 

3 ly 



i 



t Of- 



oil; 



ilU: 





le va- 


becn 


Uoun- 1 
s; to $ 


s and 


hem; 


iWif- 


lan to 


which 


Cufeof ^ 


:mark& 


that as 


centre * 


iginal- 1 

ly 1 



{ 29) 

ly from that Fountain, if the 
Checks or Reftraints on thofe in 
Office, which have been wifely 
conftituted by our Anceftors, are 
leffened or removed, we may, un- 
der fuch a Predicament, purfue the 
Form, and yet give a new Princi- 
ple or Spirit of Adlion to the Go- 
vernment, which through Time, 
Incidents, and a great Variety of 
^ Caufes, may leave us deftitute of 
all Refource* 



FINIS.